Update with the Shipley’s in Norway
What exciting things do you have planned for your ministry in the next few months?
Currently, Mikaela and I (Derrick) have been planning and making preparations for the start of her Ceramics/Pottery Studio. Mikaela graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an Area of Emphasis in Ceramics. She has long wanted to use her passion for art by entwining it into ministry. Our primary goal with the Ceramics Studio is to build relationships with the local community in a genuine way. Our hope is that this would create opportunities to share the Gospel when appropriate with those we get to know.
This summer we purchased a Ceramics Oven/Kiln and will be starting the beginnings of a Ceramics Studio out of our home. Many people we know are already wanting to come take lessons and purchase ceramics pieces that Mikaela creates. This has been quite encouraging to receive such a positive response from those around us that come from different walks of life and faith.
We love getting to know the life stories of those we meet and hearing what has helped shape and form who they are today. Our prayer is that people experience the love of Christ even if they do not realize what it is they are experiencing. Naturally, many are curious as to why we are living here in Norway and what our future plans are, and this leads to good conversations and opportunities.With a focus and foundation on seeking to build relationships with the local community, we trust that the ceramics work will open many doors for us in our ministry here. In the next few months, this Ceramics Studio will start off as a “Hobby” that will eventually become a business as we learn more about the rules and regulations here in Norway when it comes to operating a business. We are seeking God’s guidance each step of the way as we want to honor Him with what He has blessed us with.
International House Churches
In the fall of 2020, we started our first International House Church as part of the church we work and serve alongside here in Norway, called IMI Church. You can think of a House Church as a Small Group or Life Group as other ministries use these terms. The International House Churches have borne much fruit, as we have had over 20 different nations represented in our International House Churches in just under 2 years. We planted our 2nd International House Church this spring and now we are possibly looking to plant a 3rd one this winter as we grow.
We have an emphasis on coming around the Word of God during our weekly gatherings as we spend time on a passage and share with one another. This helps us all to grow deeper in our faith walk in Christ together as Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” NIV.
When I describe the International House Churches to others I often say we are a group of people who share life together whether those times in life are amazing or are depressing times. We come around each other to love and support one another with the love of Christ. Many internationals have moved here without their families and can quickly find themselves alone or feeling isolated in a new country. When they join the House Church with other internationals who often share this same story, we quickly become not just friends, but a vibrant family in the life of the church.
We are also very thankful to say that we have multiple Norwegians in both of our International House Churches because this helps in multiple ways. One of the desires Mikaela and I have had is to be “bridge builders” in our community. To help build the bridge between internationals and Norwegians and vice versa. Sometimes as internationals we can find ourselves frustrated about something in the Norwegian culture and having Norwegians in our House Churches they are able to speak to those cultural things we do not understand and thus helps build the bridge to further embracing a new culture. While at the same time it gives Norwegians a new perspective in understanding the challenges that many internationals can face coming into a new culture, in this case being the Norwegian culture. They take this experience with them and learn how they can better meet the needs of internationals living in their local communities. When you add in the fact that this is done in the spirit of the love of Christ it creates some amazing opportunities for Christian Norwegians to bless and help the international community in Norway.
We have seen this catching on and growing in our International House Churches and we are quite thankful for this. Now in August a new ministry year and the cycle start, and we are looking forward to newcomers, both internationals and Norwegians, joining these International House Churches as a part of IMI Church. We look forward to what God is doing and want to come alongside Him in building His Church.
To learn more about the Shipley’s ministry check out their website: Shipley Norway
To support their ministry check out Partner with Kontaktmission – Kontaktmission USA (gokmusa.org)